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Harold Bradley (1926 – 2019), Hall of Fame country music guitarist

Getty Images / WireImage / Ed Rode

Helped create “the Nashville sound”

Harold Bradley was a Country Music Hall of Fame guitarist who was instrumental in creating “the Nashville sound.” The session player was part of the famous A Team, a group of musicians who played on hit songs by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Loretta Lynn. Bradley led the local musicians union, helping bring about better working conditions, and was a key person in the creation of Nashville’s music district, Music Row.  

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Died: January 31, 2019 (Who else died on January 31?)  

Details of death: Died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 93.  


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His sound:  Bradley was known for his tic-tac style of rhythm guitar which built “the Nashville sound” by emphasizing the bass line in a a song. Bradley talked about his sound to NPR in 2013: “Well, it’s a six-string bass guitar. The bottom four strings are just like the bass but it has two additional strings on top. And I really made a lot of money with it. I’m not going to give any money back.” 

Tribute:  “For decades, Harold Bradley went to work doing something that he called “playing.” He surveyed every sonic situation and determined what he could do to make things better, more melodic and more harmonious. There are lessons in Harold’s approach to playing that go far beyond music. He lived his life with kindness, gentility and discretion. On hopeful days, I will try to view Harold Bradley as an inspiration and not an aberration. - Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young 

Full obituary: The Tennessean 

Related lives:  

Country Music Memorial Site 

Roy Clark (1933 – 2018), country music star 

Mel Tillis (1932 – 2017), country music legend 

Chet Atkins, country music guitar master